Viral Bullshit: “Man Banned From Campus For Resembling A Rapist” Story Is Likely Fake

Last week, the National Review came out with a real doozy of a story. One which spread like wildfire through the conservative parts of the internet, through the manosphere, frontpaged on Reddit and was cited by many as a terrifying example of how the feminists have just gone too far. Possibly by some relatives you try to avoid on social media. I’m gonna tell you all about it, but you have to pretend we are sitting around a campfire and I am holding a flashlight under my chin, OK?

Up in the swingin’ Pacific Northwest — you know, where all those hippies and hipsters live? — at a small liberal arts college in Oregon, is where our story begins…

(I know. Scary already, right?)

And at this small liberal arts college in Oregon (WooooOOOOOoooooo! Ghost sounds!), there was a fella who looked like another fella. And the fella he looked like was someone’s rapist. A rapist from 3,000 miles away.

That school, naturally, overreacted to this coincidence due to pressure from all those feminists out to ruin college by asking schools to treat campus rape like it’s some kind of actual problem. So they investigated this poor fella. Tore his everlovin’ life upside down! Even though he definitely was not a rapist. Because maybe he was! He had the same haircut as one or something! And we all know, rapists always ask for the same special at Supercuts.

Then, even after determining he had done nothing wrong, the story goes, this poor student was then banned from certain parts of campus, and couldn’t even go to his dorm room, his classes or to his campus job.

YES. This student was banned from even going to college simply because he reminded some whiny feminist broad of her rapist.

What a terrible ordeal for this young man to have to go through! Surely it is undeniable proof that these social justice warriors have simply gone too far!

Except, you know, I’m gonna say there is a 99.9999999% chance that this did not happen at all.

The source of the National Review story was a bit in an article by Harvard law professor Janet Halley published in the Harvard Law Review Forum, titled “Trading the Megaphone for the Gavel in Title IX Enforcement.” Halley has a history of opposing sexual assault standards on campus, including the ones recently enacted at Harvard itself.  She is also the author of a book titled Split Decisions: How and Why to Take a Break From Feminism.

Here is the clip from that article referring to the “case.”

I recently assisted a young man who was subjected by administrators at his small liberal arts university in Oregon to a month-long investigation into all his campus relationships, seeking information about his possible sexual misconduct in them (an immense invasion of his and his friends’ privacy), and who was ordered to stay away from a fellow student (cutting him off from his housing, his campus job, and educational opportunity) — all because he reminded her of the man who had raped her months before and thousands of miles away. He was found to be completely innocent of any sexual misconduct and was informed of the basis of the complaint against him only by accident and off-hand. But the stay-away order remained in place, and was so broadly drawn up that he was at constant risk of violating it and coming under discipline for that.

There are more than a few bullshit bells dinging on this one. First, uh, the actual college goes mysteriously unmentioned. Second, it seems highly unlikely that a college — any college, even a “small liberal arts college in Oregon” would investigate someone because they merely looked like, but could not possibly be, a rapist, and then subsequently ban them from going to their dorm and their job.

Now, you may be saying to yourself, Sure! It’s vague! But it’s in the Harvard Law Review! Written by a Harvard Law professor! I feel it necessary to mention, at this point, that the article actually appears in the Harvard Law Review Forum, which has far fewer guidelines and citation requirements than Original Recipe Harvard Law Review.

The grand irony, of course, is that the very crux of Halley’s piece is that male students are harmed by the type of training schools are providing to deal with sexual assault. Namely, that this training is “100% aimed to convince [schools] to believe complainants, precisely when they seem unreliable and incoherent.”

Clearly, Halley has no problem believing this student’s story, despite the fact that it clearly seems both unreliable and incoherent. With an incredibly unlikely story like this, surely, it would make sense to be more detailed in description and to perhaps investigate this on one’s own.

To back up my suspicions on this story, I called all the “small liberal arts” colleges in Oregon. No one had heard of this incident, or any incidents like this happening. I was assured that no, in no way is it the policy of any of these schools to issue “stay-away” orders to students for merely “looking like” someone’s rapist.

I spoke to Kevin Myers of the Public Affairs Department at Reed College — which one would go and assume would be the overzealous liberal campus so obliquely referred to here — who told me that the only way he could maybe see the first part of this happening would be if the student had actually told them she suspected the guy in question of being her rapist and was making a complaint against him. They would not investigate someone for merely passing a resemblance. Also, they would not continue issuing a stay-away order simply because someone looked like someone’s rapist.

That’s just not how things work. Similarly, those I contacted at Linfield, Willamette and Lewis and Clark colleges had never heard of such a thing happening either. I was assured that this is not a matter of policy for any of these schools.

Were this to somehow have happened exactly as described, I think we can be reasonably sure that there would be some article mentioning it somewhere. In some campus newspaper, at the very least. Somewhere on social media. Someone’s parent would definitely be flipping the hell out. Someone on campus would have heard about it. But no. No other mentions of this ever happening, other than this one article.

Now, sure. It could be possible that all these colleges are lying to me and do have a super secret policy of ruining the lives of dudes who bear passing resemblances to sexual assailants. However, I’m gonna guess no. Either the student in question is straight-up lying to Halley about the details of this incident, or she’s making it up. I’d like to give her the benefit of the doubt and assume it’s the former.

If for some reason some actual evidence pops up refuting my position on this, I am more than happy to change it. However, until that happens, I’m calling bullshit.

[National Review]

[Harvard Law Review Forum]